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148.: To [HENRY DUNDAS] - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 6 Correspondence of Adam Smith 
Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E. C. Mossner and I. S. Ross, vol. VI of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987).
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To [HENRY DUNDAS]1
MS., SRO GD51/1/198/10/2; unpubl.
[London,] 13 Dec. 1775
My Dear Lord
I had yesterday a very long conversation with the Sollicitor General2 and Andrew Stuart concerning the Politicks of fifeshire.3 I told them exactly what I had done in favour of my Cousin;4 and they told me as exactly what they had done in favour of their respective friends. The Sollicitor General, I understand, has recommended to you, in the first place, his friend Sir John Hackit; and supposing that he should decline standing, Mr Stuarts nephew, Mr Henderson.5 If Sir John Hackit is a candidate, there is an end of the Business. Collonel Skeene will not oppose his nearest relation and his best friend. If Sir John should decline, which it is here believed he will do, I have some reason to believe that My Lord Mansfield will not chuse that the remains of General Scott’s interest should go to a Nephew of Andrew Stuart.6 If my information should happen to be Just, I am thoroughly convinced that Skeene is as good a man as any you could pitch upon. He has been one of the best Sons, Brothers and Unkles that I have ever known; and, I am thoroughly convinced, will be an equally faithful supporter of whoever supports him. I have desired him to wait upon your Brother and you as soon as he gets to Scotland. I will pawn my head that he makes no dishonourable use of any confidence you chuse to put in him. I ever am
My Dear Lord most faithfully yours
[1 ]Addressee identified by SRO as Henry Dundas (1742–1811), lawyer and statesman; son of Robert Dundas of Arniston the Elder, and half–brother of the Younger, both Lord Presidents of the Court of Session; advocate 1763; Solicitor–Gen. of Scotland 1766; M.P. 1774–1802; appointed Lord Advocate 1775, giving him control of political patronage in Scotland which he retained for most of his life. He was the friend and colleague of Pitt, holding high office in his administrations with particular responsibility for waging war against revolutionary France. In 1802 he was created Viscount Melville; after serving as First Lord of the Admiralty 1804–5, he was impeached in 1806 for malversion, found guilty of negligence, but acquitted and restored to the roll of the Privy Council 1807.
[2 ]Alexander Murray (1736–95) of Murrayfield, Edinburgh, and Henderland, Peebles; educ. Edinburgh University; advocate 1758; Sheriff Depute, Peebles 1761–75; one of the Commissaries of Edinburgh 1765; succeeded Henry Dundas as Solicitor–Gen. 1775–83; M.P. for Peebles 1780–3; Commissioner for Fisheries and Manufactures 1777; raised to the Bench as Lord Henderland 1783, and made a Lord Commissioner of Justiciary; Clerk of the Pipe in Exchequer 1786–d. His influential connections included the Marquess of Tweeddale and Lord Mansfield, and he was a loyal colleague to Henry Dundas. Boswell admired him for his ‘ornate eloquence’.
[3 ]The sitting M.P., Col. John Scott of Balcomie, died in 1775. Henry Dundas, guardian of Scott’s children, took control of the Balcomie interest which was much sought after. The previous member, James Wemyss, gave his interest to James Townsend Oswald.
[4 ]Robert Skene (1719–87) of Hallyards, entered the Army 1743; Adjutant Gen. 1763; Inspector of Roads in the Highlands 1767–80; Col. 1772; Maj. Gen. 1777. He stood for Fife in 1776, supported by John, 5th Duke of Argyll, but gave his interest to James Townsend Oswald who was elected. When the latter resigned in 1779, Skene was returned as M.P., then unseated in Feb. 1780 because he held the office of Inspector of Roads. He was returned again in the General Election of 1780. Skene supported North’s administration, was listed among Shelburne’s friends, and was regarded latterly as an opponent of Pitt. He was an authority on Road Bills.
[5 ]John Henderson (1752–1817) of Fordell, succeeded his fa. as 5th Bt. 1781; educ. St Andrews and Oxford; M.P. 1780–1807 for, successively, Fife, Dysart, Seaford, and Stirling.
[6 ]In the House of Lords Mansfield attacked Stuart’s Douglas Cause proofs as gross perjury, and Stuart retaliated with the ironic Letters to Lord Mansfield (1773).